In the Valley

Poetry by Erin Keating
Issue 42 • August 2016 • Salem

The knuckles of God
press against the crust
of the Earth, sculpting peaks
to stand sentinel
in the haze.

The Blue Ridge people rise
to see sunlight
the fog that floats
heaven-bound like incense.

Their bodies
are hewn from the limestone,
pulsing with the rhythm of the train
the shadows of clouds,
promising a world
out there.

But they stay
and grow to carry the family name
like a southern spruce-fir
to the side of a sheer drop.

Their roots push through
glacial sediment –
stretching into the core
of the world.

Erin Keating is a rising senior at Roanoke College studying Literature and Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in Cuckoo Quarterly, On Concept's Edge, and is forthcoming in the Allegheny Review.

Illustration by Paul Hostetler

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